Randy Gregory

Ram footballers participate in varied 7-on-7 contests

July 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY High school football teams across the country place highly divergent views on the importance of seven-on-seven passing competitions and the role they play in the success of the upcoming season. Many coaches stretch the rule to the limit and take full advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Nike, Adidas and other sports-related firms have even gotten to the point of offering national events with players from across the country playing on teams comprised of several different schools’ players. A multitude of players who may have spent previous summers playing baseball, taking family vacations or just relaxing now find football to be a near year-round activity. Consider Rockford Coach Ralph Munger to be one of the coaches who place a higher value on letting kids be kids and getting something of a break from the potential monotony of so much football. “We really want the kids to be able to get a break from time to time,” said Munger. “The state of Michigan is one of the more restrictive states when it comes to how many of these events you can participate in, and we don’t even take full advantage of that. We ask so much of our players and coaches when the season begins and I think it is important for all of them to have some time to recharge their batteries and join with their families in doing other things.” This summer the Rams will have competed with Kenowa Hills and Forest Hills Eastern in one seven-on-seven, Greenville in another, and Belding, Wayland and Byron Center in a third event. There is the opportunity to ply their wares against Shelby and Ottawa Hills in another seven-on-seven, but Munger isn’t even sure that Rockford will take advantage of that. “We have had a fair share of success doing things this way for a long time now,” said Munger. “I think the benefit of how we do things has a far greater impact on the mental well-being of our kids as opposed to bringing them to one event after another. I think everyone knows that once the practices start, we are all football, but it can be a difficult task for 16- to 18-year-old young men to maintain that mental toughness necessary […]

Munger, Lee, multiple Rams take part in UM Football Camp

July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY   This year’s University of Michigan Football Camp for high school players took place from June 17 to June 22. Rockford Coach Ralph Munger marked his 30th year as an instructor at the camp with this year’s appearance. But what pleased Munger even more was the maiden voyage of Rockford assistant David Lee as a member of the coaching fraternity who instruct thousands of players from around the country at the elite camp. “I was really tickled for Coach [David] Lee,” said Munger. “He is an outstanding young coach and I know this was something he had been looking forward to. He has so much enthusiasm and I know he imparted that and his knowledge of the game to the kids who were fortunate enough to work with him.” Munger spent his time at the camp teaching what he has been widely renowned for over the course of his storied career: the offensive line. While he has worked with other position groups over the years, Munger usually finds his way back to the position he has always been noted for. But the position group is not he most important thing to Munger; it is the experience the campers have. “We place a heavy emphasis on teaching technique to the players,” said Munger. “We want the young men to be better football players when they leave there and have a better understanding of their position. We use the same drills and teaching techniques that the University of Michigan uses with their team. But we also want to do it in an atmosphere that is conducive to being a positive experience for everyone involved.” Included amongst the campers was a healthy contingent of Rockford players. Munger was pleased that 11 Rams took part and hoped that their football acumen had improved as much as their enthusiasm indicated they enjoyed the camp. “I can’t even begin to remember all 11 of their names, so I won’t mention any of them,” said Munger. “It is always great to see some Rams there, and it is nice as well when other coaches tell me how impressed they were with their attentiveness, technique and love of the game.”

Rockford Quarterback Technique Clinic becoming destination spot

July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY Rockford football Coach Ralph Munger isn’t quite sure how many years it has been going on and isn’t quite sure about everyone who has participated as an instructor over the last several years in the annual Rockford Quarterback Technique Clinic. But the one thing he does know is that the event is drawing from a larger area every year. This year’s camp had no fewer than 29 participants ranging from seventh- to 12th-graders who attend schools as diverse as South Christian, Byron Center, Belding and Fremont (as well as Rockford). “This camp was started by Matt McCarthy and it has grown annually,” said Munger. “Matt was the offensive coordinator at Ferris State [University] and has worked at several other schools. He brought a wealth of knowledge and we have just taken the ball and run with it. We stress technique and practice drill after drill as well as bringing in receivers over the course of the camp. This year went extremely well, and it was great to see a lot of former Rams coming back to help the younger kids who want to become better quarterbacks.” Among the former Ram quarterbacks who were part of the staff this year were Joe Schwander, Steve Fusee, Robert Banaszak, Tim McGee and Mark LaPrairie. The event began on Monday, June 25 and concluded on Wednesday, June 27. “When you are fortunate enough to experience the success we have over the last fifteen or twenty years, it is not uncommon for other teams to want to see what you are doing and see if it will benefit them in the long run,” said Munger. “It isn’t always that you are given the chance to impart the things that you have learned over the course of your career to so many eager young men. They were all a pleasure to work with and we look forward to doing it again next year.”

Rockford youth football camp for 2012 starts July 23

July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The anticipation for the 2012 football season has been slowly rising to a crescendo. Yet another omen of the impending season is just about here with the annual Rockford FUNdamental Youth Clinic 2012 slated to run from Monday, July 23 through Thursday, July 26 at Rockford High School. As of June 30, there were 175 upcoming third- through sixth-graders already signed up, and there is still time and room for more. “We know that the success of our program always begins with the younger kids,” said Rockford Coach Ralph Munger. “The clinic is run in a non-contact setting and we stress the fundamentals to all of the participants. But at the same time we want everyone to have fun at every venue they partake in. This is an event that my coaches, players and I always highly anticipate and we can never have too many kids.” The staff for the camp will be comprised of coaches from the 78er programs all the way to the varsity level at Rockford. An overwhelming majority of varsity players from the 2012 team and alums from previous Ram squads will also be instructors. Third- and fourth-graders will be paired together in one group, and fifth- and sixth-graders in another. The camp will run daily from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and there will be several Rockford football items issued to campers. The late sign-up cost of the camp is $70 and there will be no refunds issued. You can sign up your child as late as the opening day at the plaza area of Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium. Checks should be made payable to Rockford Football and individual awards will be given out to selected campers for various events. If you have any other questions you may also go to www.Rockfordfootball.com. “We strongly encourage any parents or grandparents who are able to attend to be there and bring cameras, video recorders and lawn chairs,” said Munger. “We always close things out with seven-on-seven games and the kids and parents have a blast. We want everyone to learn to play football in a safe and successful manner, and this enables us to get a head start with the foundation of future Rockford football players.”

Rockford Football Team Camp kicked off July 10

July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY One of the first harbingers of the impending football season is taking place as of this week. The Rockford Team Camp is running July 10 through July 12 at Rockford High School and the numbers are absolutely staggering. There are 380 participants in all, and every member of the Rockford coaching staff from 78ers to the varsity level is part of the festivities. “We are absolutely capped out,” said Rockford Coach Ralph Munger. “We will have over 70 varsity players, and 50 each of JV and freshman players. The 78ers from Rockford North and East Middle School will be there as well. And we are also pleased to welcome Joe Schwander [former Ram assistant and new varsity coach at Belding] and his kids from Belding.” Fundamentals and drills are a major part of the three-day camp. It also gives the coaches a chance to get to know the kids and see their various strengths and weaknesses in the upcoming season. “This is a very valuable part of the preseason process for us as a coaching staff,” said Munger. “We use this to evaluate the talent level and work on our speed and quickness. You can never have enough depth and this will allow us to see who has been putting in the time necessary to become a better player. We have only seven weeks till the season starts and every time we get together is important. We don’t use all of the days the state allows us to because we also want the players to have some time for fun in the summer. That is why we need to maximize the time we do have together.”

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